Football Gameday Traffic Updates
Saturday’s historic football contest between LSU and Southern brought the city of Baton Rouge together for an unforgettable celebration. For that, we are forever grateful, and we look forward to increased collaboration and partnership between our two institutions, as we all work together toward elevating our city and our state.
The magnitude of this celebration resulted in unprecedented traffic – before, during, and after the game. With no true road team, and with two programs supported by large and loyal fanbases, the LSU-Southern game brought record numbers of vehicles and pedestrians to campus. As a result, anticipated issues were exacerbated, leading to increased delays and frustration.
First and foremost, we are confident that the unique circumstances of Saturday’s game created problems that will not emerge at other home contests this season. Simply put, Saturday was an anomaly, and we expect this Saturday’s 5 p.m. kickoff against Mississippi State – and the remainder of our home schedule – will be vastly different and improved.
In the meantime, we feel it is important to elaborate on the issues that occurred and to share how we are working with law enforcement to address them. Our goal on gameday remains unchanged: to do everything possible to ensure every fan gets to and from Tiger Stadium as safely and efficiently as possible.
Through our conversations with law enforcement, feedback from fans, and an analysis of the available data, we have identified the following issues from Saturday:
- The unprecedented mass of vehicular and pedestrian presence on campus created congestion that did not dissipate at kickoff. Even the busiest gamedays will typically see the roads significantly clear after the game begins, but the number of vehicles utilizing the roads around Tiger Stadium – and the number of pedestrians on foot – continued to increase well after the game began.
- In addition to an expected increase in standard gameday traffic, there was additional social traffic from spectators with no plans of attending the game – or even remaining on campus for sustained periods of time. For example, despite the increased presence of vehicles on the roads, our free parking lots never filled up, indicating many drivers on campus had no plans to park. This social traffic influx created sustained congestion with no gap between pre- and post-game traffic.
- Because of the volume of vehicles still on the road, police were unable to implement contraflow in a timely fashion. To create contraflow, officers need to clear the roads, starting from the perimeter of contraflow and working toward campus. Multiple areas created issues for the police on Saturday and delayed the implementation of contraflow.
- To clear I-10 for contraflow, police decided to clear traffic on Dalrymple as quickly as possible by sending all vehicles – even those with parking passes – down East State St. This decision was made to maintain drivers’ safety and prepare for postgame traffic. The consequence was that some parking pass holders were unable to follow standard routes to their lots or were redirected to unfamiliar or incorrect routes.
- There were numerous celebrations at homes around LSU and the surrounding communities. As fans began exiting Tiger Stadium, multiple vehicles interfered with the execution of the contraflow plan, moving barricades, and slowing down the contraflow patterns.
- The light at Gardere and Nicholson, which is controlled by engineering, malfunctioned and caused major issues on Nicholson. Police responded and began to run the light manually.
- As fans left campus during and after the game, officers were frequently engaged by drivers with requests to access blocked roads. Each of these conversations, brief or not, had an exponential effect in increasing delay. With a disproportionate availability of free parking located South of campus and increased demand for egress to the North and West of campus, the delays were compounded.
- In addition to traffic created by vehicles, increased postgame pedestrian traffic led to critical road closures. Officers were occupied by masses of people in the streets in certain areas of campus, and police were forced to shut down segments of important throughways.
In the weeks and months preceding Saturday’s game, LSU Athletics and law enforcement, in anticipation of this influx of both motor and foot traffic, worked to develop a proactive traffic plan. For the reasons mentioned above, this plan was not executed efficiently or effectively.
Local law enforcement continues to work to find solutions to these problems, and we are committed to providing our support to ensure those solutions are identified and implemented. For example, on Saturday, officers will be more strategically placed in critical areas, additional barricades will be utilized, and communications plans have been adjusted to allow for more timely implementation of contraflow.
LSU Athletics will maintain its increased investment to expand gameday police presence, and we will continue to work closely with local law enforcement to improve ingress and egress and address gameday traffic concerns. Additionally, just as we must develop and implement a clear plan with law enforcement, it is critical, for your safety and the convenience of all other vehicles on the road, that all drivers and pedestrians comply with pre- and post-game traffic plans. Moving barricades, ignoring officers’ requests, and crowding roads with foot traffic only increases danger and delays.
We welcome your feedback and cooperation as we work with the community to create efficient and effective traffic plans, and we thank you for your support of LSU Athletics.